Carpenter bees are heavily dependent on wood for nesting. So it makes sense to come up with a type of wood that can keep them away. But is there really a particular type that we can use ward them off? How about the mighty cedar trees? Do carpenter bees like cedar?
Carpenter bees seem to have no reservations when it comes to the kind of wood they’re drilling into. CC Image courtesy of Robertwhyteus on Wikipedia
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Cedar can repel some insects
Cedar wood is a common choice for building bug-repellent houses and furniture. That’s because it has a reputation for deterring pests like termites, ants, and roaches. And this reputation comes with some backing.
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Trees from this genus produce very aromatic acids. Carbolic, plicatic and abietic acids are natural compounds that create the familiar earthy scent that you can get from these trees. According to Northern Star Online, this aroma is largely the work of the phenols or carbolic acid. Its smell may be pleasant for us humans, but it keeps plenty of bugs away.
The acids also have some level of toxicity to them. Plicatic and abietic acids are particularly potent. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, these acids are strong enough to be lethal. With constant exposure to large doses, they can kill humans and big animals because they can cause asthma and other chronic lung diseases. They can even trigger liver problems for rodents
But cedar wood actually attracts carpenter bees
Even though it sounds totally contradictory to what we just mentioned above, there’s no evidence that points to carpenter bees being appalled by cedar. In fact, not only are they not afraid to go near it, they are actually attracted to it.
And there are practical reasons for this.
Firstly, cedar wood is classified under softwood, a kind of wood that’s less dense and more prone to aging and weathering. Carpenter bees are known to love softwood, and the reason is purely pragmatic. It’s easier for them to chew into. With weathering and less density, these bugs can make their tunnels faster without too much hassle. And because of this, cases of cedar being attacked by a lot of carpenter bees are very commonplace.
Additionally, in our previous post, we discussed how cedar doesn’t really do anything to hornets. We even gave you a clip from Animal and Plant Health Agency that clearly shows a giant hornet nest perched on top of a living cedar tree.
But what does this tell us? Well, hornets and carpenter bees belong to the same order. So they share some anatomical similarities. These biological similarities may possibly be part of the reason that explains why the carpenter bee is attracted to cedar.
So just to put it out there, do carpenter bees like cedar? Well, based from experiences and real-life stories, we’re pretty sure that the answer is yes. But don’t be discouraged though. There’s still hope. There are plenty of ways to keep carpenter bees away even if you have a lot of cedar wood in your house. Some of them are as easy as applying varnish or paint!
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